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Statement on Senate Action on Repeal of Affordable Care Act

July 28, 2017

Last night, the current version of the Republican-led repeal and replace of the ACA—the Healthcare Freedom Act—failed by a dramatic vote cast by Senator John McCain joining with the stalwart opposition of Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. These three Republican Senators voted with the Democrats to halt efforts to disrupt the current healthcare policies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have extended healthcare and community-based long-term care to millions more Americans. We would like to thank Senators Collins, McCain, and Murkowski and the 48 Democratic Senators for standing with American families, children, adults with disabilities, and older adults with chronic health conditions in support of expanded healthcare across the country.

Photo: Mobilus In Mobili www.flickr.com/photos/mobili/32487996401, creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

While last night’s vote was the critical decision point in the battle to retain the ACA, we also want to acknowledge the persistent and heroic efforts of ordinary people doing extraordinary advocacy. Thank you to everyone who made a phone call, sent an email, or wrote a letter to a Member of Congress (MOC). To those who visited an office, camped out in the halls of Congress, told their healthcare stories to the media, went to town hall meetings, joined demonstrations, made videos when their MOC was a no-show for a meeting, wrote songs and made signs—it all mattered. By the time the final vote was cast, polling numbers of American citizens for approval of repeal efforts fell to a 16% low.

Thank you to the efforts of National ADAPT, Little Lobbyists, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Families USA, Justice in Aging, Indivisible, MoveOn, and to the thousands of efforts not named here, for organizing high profile demonstrations and visits to Congress. Kudos to AARP and AARP Advocates for organizing advocacy campaigns; speaking at every venue possible with media visibility in key Congressional states; and for supplying information and analysis through the Public Policy Institute.

Tweet from Elaine Ryan @RoamtheDomes

Good advocacy runs on information. Our appreciation to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the American Bar Association, CLASP, the Commonwealth Fund, Health Affairs blog (Tim Jost!), Kaiser Family Foundation, National Health Law Reform, State Health Reform Assistance Network, Families USA, Center for Medicare Advocacy, and Justice in Aging. And to the media who covered this story in print, online, and through broadcast, making the effort to convey the effects of repeal with facts and personal stories that brought to life the everyday challenges of many who depend on healthcare support.

The strength of a nation rests on the health of its citizens. The values of a country should reflect the welfare of all of its citizens, rich or poor, rural or urban, employed or not, healthy or sick, in providing access to healthcare and long-term supports should they (or you) need them. Let’s hope that today we can turn the page and begin a reasoned discussion that includes all viewpoints on how we can achieve high-quality, lower-cost care for everyone. On behalf of caregiving families and for whom they care, I hope that this happens.

But for today—just for today—let’s pause and give thanks to everyone involved to preserve better healthcare for all.